In this section of Dutch++ the most important terms regarding 'language variation' will be explained by giving the theoretical background to their meaning. Choose a term from the list below or from the menu above.

Rachim (video) thinks that Surinamese papers often use very complicated words.

  • Pluricentric Languages: Dutch differs in the Netherlands, Belgium and Suriname. How do people deal with this fact? What is 'pluricentricity'? What consequences does a pluricentric language-perception have?
  • Language variation: There are several different kinds of Dutch: spoken Dutch on TV, written Dutch in text-messages,... What is language variation? What kinds of Dutch, or ' varieties ' of Dutch, are there? What is the difference between a 'variety' and a 'language'?
  • Standard Dutch: In school, you won't learn a dialect or text message slang, you will learn standard Dutch. Why? How does standard Dutch differ from other kinds of Dutch?
  • Dialect: Limburgish, Eastern Flemish, Amsterdam Dutch: these are examples of dialects which are used in small parts of the Dutch language area. But what is actually the difference between a language and a dialect? And what is a streektaal (regional variety)?
  • A Sociolect is only used by a specific social group. Adolescents, for instance, often use some sort of secret code-language, which won't be understood by their parents or teachers. What other kinds of sociolects are there and what are their typical features?
  • Register: The mayor uses different register when he gives an official speech than when he speaks to his family at home. What kinds of register are there and how can you use them?
  • Language and Identity: Teenagers, who like to listen to HipHop, often express their affiliation to this music by dressing in a certain manner. Standard Dutch is not used in the Dutch HipHop scene, a specific variety of Dutch is used amongst these speakers. What is identity and what is the importance of language in building identity?
  • Language attitudes: Nice, trivial or 'gezellig' (homely, entertaining, pleasant, familiar): what are the attitudes towards different languages and varieties? How are these attitudes scientifically examined and what can we learn from this?
  • Understanding varieties: What is the difference between listening and understanding? What does it mean to understand a language? What problems can arise in the process?